In September we learned about respect during Community Week! At Westover we respect our country, our community, our school, and we respect others as well as ourselves. We read books about bucket filling and used our Productive Thinking Talent to think of many, varied and unusual ways to fill someone's bucket.
In October we read the book, The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin, by Joe Troiano. We learned about celebrating our differences and wrote about what makes us special. We created unique pumpkins and used our Communication Talent #3 to make many, varied comparisons in the form of a simile using the format "My pumpkin is as _____ as ______." Every student is one of a kind, and "oh, what a garden variety makes!".
In November our theme was being thankful. We read books about being thankful for all that we have, including things we may take for granted (like our hands or the sun). We used our Productive Thinking Talent to list the many, varied and unusual people, places, and things we are thankful for. The kindergarten students created turkeys and wrote one thing they are thankful for on each of the feathers. The second grade students wrote acrostic poems using the word THANKFUL. The fourth grade students wrote paragraphs about what they are grateful for in their lives. By Thanksgiving, we were all feeling very appreciative!
Generosity was our theme for the month of December. We learned that there are a variety of different ways to give, and that the best gifts are those that come from the heart. We read Gifts of the Heart, by Patricia Polacco and The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. We discussed how a "gift of the heart" can't be bought in a store, and when you give it to someone it makes you happy too because you have made them feel loved. We created a list of many, varied and unusual "gifts of the heart" using our Productive Thinking Talent. Some ideas were to sing a song to your family, give a friend a hug, help your parents out at home, and to donate food or toys to those in need. Every student drew or wrote about their idea on a heart to create our bulletin board.
We started the new year with a focus on respecting oneself. We read various books about building self-esteem and celebrating our unique talents and gifts. Some of these books included The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, I Like Me by Nancy Carlson, and I'm Gonna Like Me by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell. We used our Communication Talent #1 to describe ourselves using many, varied single words and discussed the importance of positive self-talk. The students drew pictures of themselves in mirrors and wrote positive words to describe themselves on the mirror.
Kindness was our theme for the month of February. We learned about the story of the kindness bug, Marcus the Caterpillar, who starts a chain of kindness. When Marcus emerges as a butterfly, he realizes the kindness he started has spread across the world. We used butterfly and ladybug puppets to role play situations where we can spread kindness. The students used their Productive Thinking Talent to write about the many, varied and unusual ways to spread kindness and why it is important to do so. We read the book, Each Kindness, and discussed how to be an upstander rather than a bystander. We definitely caught the kindness bug, and you can catch it too!